March 2023’s Best Streaming Titles: Pulp Fiction, Top Gun: Maverick, Ted Lasso, The Mandalorian, Luther
As Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, et al. add more content, it can be difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. Every month, I compile a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.
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Amazon Prime Video
Capote (Mar 1)
After hearing about the brutal murder of a Kansas family, acclaimed author Truman Capote becomes fascinated by the story, and insists on traveling to Kansas to document it for his next book (which would eventually become In Cold Blood). The late Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a bravura performance as Capote, as he portrays the author as a charming and talented man who is not above using manipulation to achieve his own selfish goals for fame.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Mar 1)
When a group of friends become indebted to a mob boss after losing a fixed card game, they find themselves trapped in the London criminal world alongside psychopaths, enforcers, and drug dealers. Guy Ritchie’s directorial debut is a rip roarin’ black comedy filled with memorable characters, punchy dialog, stylish camerawork, and a killer soundtrack featuring James Brown, Dusty Springfield, The Stooges, and The Stone Roses (read my review).
Lost in Translation (Mar 1)
Lost in Translation is the unconventional love story between two lonely people — a washed up actor and a young woman — who run into each other in Tokyo, Japan. Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation is a beautifully bittersweet film about alienation and loneliness that also serves as a love letter to the city of Tokyo (though it also received some criticism for its depiction of Japanese culture). The film was one of 2003’s most acclaimed films, receiving numerous awards including an Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay.”
Pulp Fiction (Mar 1)
I was a college freshman when Pulp Fiction arrived in theaters, and it was everywhere. Tarantino’s twisty, twisted morality play about hitmen, gangsters, drug addicts, boxers, and a mysterious briefcase blew everyone away with its snappy dialog, retro aesthetic, and celebrated performances (including John Travolta in a career-resurrecting performance). In particular, the diner conversation between Jules and Vincent is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.
Super 8 (Mar 1)
I know I seemed a bit harsh on J. J. Abrams in my review of The Rise of Skywalker, but if you want an example of where his nostalgia-driven approach to filmmaking does work, then check out Super 8. An obvious love letter to classic Spielberg films — it was even produced by Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment — Super 8 is nevertheless a fun sci-fi action romp as a group of teenage filmmakers find themselves caught between an alien life form and the military trying to capture it.
Nope (Mar 21)
An alien invasion film unlike other alien invasion films, Jordan Peele’s Nope is not only a haunting sci-fi/horror thriller but also a pointed examination of our culture’s fixation on entertainment. Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play a brother and sister who decide to seek evidence of a UFO in order to save their ailing farm only to — surprise! — get in over their heads. Nope was both a commercial and critical success, and was named one of 2022’s top films by the American Film Institute.
Top Gun: Maverick (Mar 24)
When Top Gun: Maverick was first announced, I was skeptical that we really needed a sequel to the 1986 original. But Maverick’s return became one of 2022’s most successful films. No doubt much of that was due to the thrilling aerial sequences, which — in keeping with Cruise’s insistence of performing his own stunts — possess an intensity that no mere CGI-fest can achieve. But beyond the action, the film is a melancholy exploration of aging and regret, with Maverick forced to deal with the consequences of his actions, both personal and professional.
Here’s everything arriving on Amazon Prime Video in March 2023.
Ted Lasso, Season 3 (Mar 15)
The first season of Ted Lasso was just about as perfect as television gets. Season two was a bit more uneven, however, as it piled on the storylines, including a surprising heel turn by the nebbish young Nate, who begins to chafe under Coach Lasso’s tenure. The season ended with all of our beloved characters in some precarious places, professionally and relationship-wise. Season three has been billed as the series’ final season, so Jason Sudeikis and his cohorts have their work cut out for them. But, as the teaser says, I believe. And if nothing else, there will always be that perfect first season.
Tetris (Mar 31)
Based on true events, this Apple original movie tells the story behind one of the greatest and most popular video games of all time. Described as a “Cold War-era thriller on steroids,” Tetris stars Taron Eagerton as Henk Rogers, the man who discovers the game and works to secure its worldwide distribution rights. But to do so, he must navigate a labyrinthian Soviet bureaucracy that could threaten him and his family.
The Mandalorian, Season Three (Mar 1)
It’s been a long time coming. The Mandalorian’s second season ended all the way back in 2020, though we did get to see Mando and Grogu in action in 2022’s Book of Boba Fett. Our favorite bounty hunter and his young protege are on their way to Mandalore, where Mando hopes to redeem himself — and risks landing in in the middle of the power struggle concerning the fate of the Mandalorian people.
Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman (Mar 17)
U2’s Bono and The Edge return to Dublin, Ireland with interviewer David Letterman to reflect on their musical career and friendship, and the inspiration behind their music. Between the interviews, the duo deliver performances of some of their classic songs.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in March 2023.
Bloodsport (Mar 1)
If you’re a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, aka the “Muscles from Brussel,” then you’re already gearing up for this film. If you’re not, well, how can you resist a film about an American soldier trained in the deadly arts of the ninja who enters an illegal Hong Kong fighting tournament to avenge the death of his brother?
Speed Racer (Mar 1)
This live-action adaptation of the classic Speed Racer anime is the ultimate example of a film that’s so over-the-top stylized that its style becomes its substance (read my review). Directed by the Wachowskis (aka, the folks who brought you the Matrix films), Speed Racer is a kaleidoscopic blast of visual effects that is often completely (and delightfully) ludicrous, and yet, there are some surprisingly emotional moments in there, too.
The Brothers Bloom (Mar 1)
Before Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi — which, according to some fans, has ruined Star Wars forever — he directed a couple of quirky, low budget indie films, including The Brothers Bloom. Johnson’s sophomore feature follows a pair of con men brothers. But when their latest con involves a wealthy heiress, things get complicated when one of the brothers falls in love with their mark.
Here’s everything arriving on HBO Max in March 2023.
Broken Arrow (Mar 1)
John Travolta and Christian Slater star in this John Woo-helmed actioner about a pair of Air Force pilots who find themselves on opposite sides when one of them tries to steal nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly, Broken Arrow doesn’t hold a candle to Woo’s Hong Kong films despite exploring the same themes and featuring the same over-the-top action sequences. But as an enjoyable late night popcorn movie, Broken Arrow is not without its charms.
Commando (Mar 1)
Released at the height of his ’80s popularity when he dominated the box office, Commando stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix, a retired army colonel who goes on the rampage after mercenaries kidnap his daughter. Which means dispatching wave after wave of evil goons with machine guns, saw blades, grenades, rocket launchers, and whatever else he can find. And of course, drop a cheeky one liners whenever possible. Commando also stars Rae Dawn Chong and Alyssa Milano.
Groundhog Day (Mar 1)
In this surprisingly existential comedy, Bill Murray plays an arrogant weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again in picturesque Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania — and forced to confront who he is as a person. This is one of the classic Bill Murray movies, and was even added to the National Film Registry in 2006.
L.A. Confidential (Mar 1)
One of 1997’s most acclaimed and successful films, L.A. Confidential follows a group of cops in 1953 California who become embroiled in police corruption and the dark side of Hollywood. Directed by Curtis Hanson and based on James Ellroy’s novel, L.A. Confidential was a commercial success as well as a critical one, winning several Academy Awards and appearing on numerous year-end lists as 1997’s best film.
Empire Records (Mar 31)
Empire Records is the coolest record store in town, but it’s in danger of being sold and going corporate. The store’s ragtag staff must hatch a crazy scheme to save their store while also celebrating Rex Manning Day. The film was a critical and commercial failure when it was released in 1995, but has since become something of a cult it. And it’s soundtrack is peak ’90s, with songs from Cracker, The Cranberries, Gin Blossoms, The Innocence Mission, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.
Heat (Mar 31)
Much was made of Heat when it was released for being the first film in which Robert De Niro and Al Pacino appear on-screen together. But that was no mere marketing gimmick. The two acclaimed actors play a career thief and the detective trying to bust him, respectively, and the result is a thrilling action/crime drama highlighted by Michael Mann’s taut direction. Heat fires on all cylinders, from the topnotch performances to the dramatic plot to the thrilling action sequences, including one of the greatest heists and shootouts in all of cinema.
The Mummy (Mar 31)
Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in this rip roarin’ action adventure film that clearly hearkens back to classic Universal horror films, but with an Indiana Jones twist. Fraser is aces as the dashing Rick O’Connell and Weisz lights up the screen as the headstrong Evelyn Carnahan, who becomes the target of the titular mummy. Despite being released in 1999, the film’s effects still hold up, and more importantly, so does its action and comedy.
The Prestige (Mar 31)
Christopher Nolan may be best known for the “Dark Knight” trilogy — which is arguably the definitive film version of Batman — but in 2006, he directed this entertaining little suspense thriller about the escalating rivalry between two magicians in the early 20th century. As is Nolan’s wont, The Prestige is full of clever little visuals, twists, and turns. Oh, and it features a David Bowie cameo as the legendary inventor Nikola Tesla.
Here’s everything arriving on Hulu in March 2023.
Luther: The Fallen Sun (Mar 10)
In this Netflix original, Idris Elba returns to his famous role as John Luther, a detective whose violent and unorthodox methods have left him disgraced and jailed. But when a serial killer begins stalking London’s streets and taunting him, Luther becomes determined to stop them. First, however, he’ll need to break out of prison.
Pitch Black (Mar 16)
This sci-fi action/thriller stars Vin Diesel as the violent antihero Riddick, who becomes stranded on a seemingly deserted planet along with several other poor souls when their spaceship is disabled. Although the survivors view Riddick with no small amount of suspicion, his violent tendencies may be all that saves when the planet’s denizens begin waking up. The film would inspire two more live-action sequels — The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick — with a third on the way.
The Night Agent, Season One (Mar 23)
Peter Sutherland is a low-ranking FBI agent who works in the White House basement where he mans a phone that never rings. Until, one day, it does ring. Soon, Sutherland finds himself in the middle of a vast conspiracy involving a Russian mole with possible ties to the Oval Office. A Netflix original series, The Night Agent is based on Matthew Quirk’s 2019 novel.
Here’s everything arriving on Netflix in March 2023.